This time last year, I remember packing up my desk at Tech Data's Clearwater, Fla. corporate headquarters and embarking on what I thought would be “just a few weeks” of working from home.
Wow, was I wrong!
As we all know, 2020 was a unique year with challenges that, 15 months later, are still being addressed. Many people were thrown off-guard by abandoning offices and working from home full-time. In fact, Gartner research shows that by March 2020, over 88% of surveyed organizations encouraged or required their employees to work from home, regardless of whether or not they showed coronavirus-related symptoms.
And many are still working remotely wherever possible – Tech Data included.
As I began to reflect on the events of the past year, I decided to solicit the views of my coworkers and get their personal perspectives to see if in fact, hindsight really is "20/20." Together, we shared tips and ideas on how we made our work-from-home journeys a success.
On the Hunt for More Content – and Face Time
One of the first sentiments that was prevalent among the team: we missed seeing each other.
One colleague in the Tempe office, Dwight Hawkins, said how he missed being across from members of his team. “It really helped to be able to stand up from my desk, go across the aisle and ask when I had a question or needed help. ”
However, the absence of sharing the same physical space didn’t mean that teams weren’t connected. In fact, many I spoke with found messaging programs, email and video chat tools to be effective for in staying in touch.
“I onboarded remotely, which has been a very different experience,” said Macy Degnan. “However, [remote work] has made me more present online and via written communication. I feel very comfortable now emailing my colleagues about how the blog works and how to find other people in the company.”
However, some things still simply cannot replace togetherness in the office.
Recent studies show a need for a little face time at work. Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report has found that those who work remotely 60%-80% of the time are the most likely of all employees to strongly agree that their engagement needs related to development and relationships are being met.
“Working in communications and marketing, we naturally look for ways to interact and foster relationships,” said Steve Kelley.
“I miss the in-person interactions,” said B.A. Beatty. “There’s a higher level of professionalism, respect and camaraderie – plus more spontaneous moments to get to know each other on a personal level when we’re all together.”
Work Life Balance: Easier or Harder?
Between home distractions, interruptions and the temptation of a few too many snacks, the blog team mentioned that while unexpected distractions appeared in their at-home workplaces, those distractions didn’t hold them back from what they were meant to do here at Tech Data.
Moreover, a few members of the blog team had adjusted to the remote work lifestyle even before 2020 began.
“I was working from home a lot before last year,” said Nance Wickins, “so luckily it wasn’t too much of a change for me going remote full-time. I like the comfort my home environment brings when compared to an office setting.”
Comfort in a flexible remote work environment can take remote workers far in enhancing their mental health, as well. Flexjob studies have shown that 89% of employees believe a flexible job can help them take better care of themselves.
“One of the greatest things about working from home so far: I have kids, and I’ve been able to see them more because of the more flexible schedule it provides,” added Dwight.
So, despite the loads of new distractions and scheduling needs, many on the team found benefits in working from home – from non-existent commutes, to happier homes and more time with loved ones.
Finally, A Word of Advice…
Before signing off to complete the next blog post, the team had some advice to others who may have to take on the flexible remote work lifestyle for themselves.
- Schedule Your Day
“My tip is to stick to a consistent schedule: Every morning I wake up, pick a new outfit for the day and put myself in a dedicated place to work. I also take a few short breaks in between projects.” – Macy Degnan
- Invest in the Right Office Setup
“Having a dedicated office space, comfy chair, large monitor and good video camera makes it easy to stay comfortable and connected. That being said, I love my laptop too because it lets me work anywhere. Last year, that anywhere was Utah!” – B.A. Beatty
- Make Time for Virtual Teambuilding
“I enjoy periodic [virtual] engagement - it gives me a sense of personal involvement and comradery with my team that I wouldn’t get otherwise. Even if you don’t talk much, it’s good to have a point in time where you can touch base with your team and remind everyone that they’re supported.” – Steve Kelley
Want to check out more of the Tech Data blog team’s content? You can find us and more members of our team on Authority.
About the Author
Kelly Armstrong is a copywriter for Tech Data Agency. Starting her professional technology journey in 2017 in the sales department at Tech Data, she learned about all the great things the company has to offer to help support the future of tech. Now, she uses that knowledge to help others and enthusiastically describe the latest and greatest technologies available to today’s workforce. Kelly is a regular contributor to the Authority blog. Watch this space for future posts!